While America is experiencing increasing poverty rates across the board, Michigan's ever-increasing rate seems especially detrimental. Michigan, with a poverty rate of 16.8 percent, is well above the national average of 15.1percent. The percentage of children in poverty in the state has increased to 23.5 percent. Detroit is experiencing a dramatically higher rate of 37.6 percent of all people in poverty, including 53.6 percent of the city's children..
Michigan families are among the poorest per capita in the nation, and median household income continues to fall - it has decreased 1.2 percent from 2009 and 19.3 percent from 2000. As a region, the Midwest has experienced the greatest decrease in household income than any other region in the US since 2007, at 8.4 percent.
While these statistics are certainly alarming, it is of interest to note the various viewpoints on the subject. While the rising poverty level creates a morose picture, some are claiming that life in the US (and Michigan) isn’t as bad as it could be.
In a recent Rasmussen poll, 96 percent of parents living in poverty reported that their children had never gone hungry because of lack of resources in the previous. Eighty percent of poor households reported having air conditioning and 75 percent have a car or truck. Many are using these types of statistics as indicators that the definition of poverty is much too broad - and that there is little need for worry.
Of course, how one defines “poverty” is a subjective, complicated process - and while 75 percent of poor households may have reported having a car or truck, is this really a relevant factor of wealth? Ninety-six percent of parents may have said their children didn’t go hungry, but whether or not the meals their children were eating were nutritious is another matter. With 40 million Americans depending on household incomes of less than $22,000 a year (that’s less than two grand a month), it’s clear that the US has major strides to make to reduce poverty.